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Supportive And Palliative Care

The Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer defines supportive care in cancer as “the prevention and management of the adverse effects of cancer and its treatment. This includes management of physical and psychological symptoms and side effects across the continuum of the cancer experience from diagnosis through treatment to post-treatment care. Enhancing rehabilitation, secondary cancer prevention, survivorship, and end-of-life care are integral to supportive care Advances in cancer therapeutics in the 1960s and 1970s led to substantial successes in treatment but brought with it considerable toxicities that led many patients to decline therapy. The “supportive care” movement formed in response to these negative treatment experiences and dedicated itself to finding ways to minimize treatment toxicities. This work led to the creation of specific guidelines that addressed cancer treatment side effects, such as febrile neutropenia, anti-emetics, mucositis, and dermatologic toxicities. Such guidelines have been instrumental in helping manage common side effects of cancer treatment, thereby enhancing the quality of life of patients receiving cancer therapy. Palliative care, according to the Center to Advance Palliative Care, is “specialized medical care for people living with serious illnesses. It is focused on providing patients with relief from the symptoms and stress of a serious illness—whatever the diagnosis. The goal is to enhance quality of life for both the patient and therefore the family. Palliative care is provided by a team of doctors, nurses, and other specialists who work with a patient’s other doctors to supply an additional layer of support. Palliative care is acceptable at any age and at any stage during a serious illness, and may be provided along side curative treatment. 

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